2008: 50 Global Days of Action Against Poverty
Report of UK Events in the 50 Global Days of Action Against Poverty and Inequality
1 September – 20 October 2008
Tens of thousands of people in the UK took action against poverty, from 1 September - 20 October, from lobbying at High Level Meetings to signing online petitions.
Citizens demanded that decisionmakers deliver more and better aid, trade justice, workers' rights, cancellation of illegitimate and unpayable debt and legislation to achieve a safe level of greenhouse gas emissions.
UK NGO campaigners were present and pressuring for change at the High Level Meeting on Aid Effectiveness in Accra (2 September) and the Millennium Development Goals conference in New York (25 September).
Activists got involved at party conferences, and events including the ‘End Poverty Now' forum, the World Day for Decent Work conference and Fairtrade campaigners' days. Activists from every county in the UK also attended a climate change stunt organised by Christian Aid.
In a grand finale, from 17–19 October, more than 300 anti poverty events took place in the UK as part of ‘Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty and Inequality'.
Globally, 116.9 million people - almost 2% of world population got involved with Stand Up and Take Action.
Below a review of the main events in the 50 Global Days of Action:
- Civil Society Forum on Aid Effectiveness/High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness
- Action against EPA's
- Conference Season UK
- UN High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals
- Domestic poverty campaigns
- World Day for Decent Work
- ‘End Poverty Now' forum
- Climate Change Action
- Blog Action Day
- World Food Day
- Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty
1 - 2 September
Accra , Ghana
The 50 Global Days of Action were launched at the Civil Society Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra , Ghana.
The event took place the day before governments met for the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness where groups including Bond and the UK Aid Network were lobbying for more and better aid.
Civil society influencing ensured that the EU was a progressive voice in the negotiations. As a result, donors committed to transfer more ownership to the countries that receive aid and to improve the predictability of aid flows.
However the negotiations did not result in an agreement on many critical areas, including tied aid and conditional aid.
In Brussels, activists from the UK Trade Justice Movement joined up with their counterparts from Belgium, Austria and France to hand over a petition to the European Commission against the EU's proposed unfair trade deals – Economic Partnership Agreements.
September - October
At Labour Party conference, Global Call to Action Against Poverty campaigners took the opportunity to lobby International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander, shortly before his departure to the UN High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals.
Activists were also on hand at the annual conferences of the Green Party, Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservatives, as well as of the TUC and ‘Convention of the Left' (alternative to the Labour Party conference), to make sure that the need for urgent action on global poverty and climate change remains at the forefront of the minds of decision makers and activists.
At the half way point of the 50 Global Days of Action, The Global Call to Action Against Poverty, Oxfam and Save the Children launched a new online interactive project, In My Name, including a video, a song by Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am and an opportunity to sign the In My Name pledge.
The initiative coincided with the UN High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals to discuss progress towards the targets.
More than 70, 000 UK petition signatures were handed over by the End Water Poverty Coalition and Save the Children, calling for governments to take the right action to reach the millennium development goals.
At the UN High Level Event, an estimated $16 billion was announced, including $1.6 billion to bolster food security, $4.5 billion for education and $3 billion to combat malaria. However many of these commitments were reallocations of money rather than increases in aid budgets.
Throughout OctoberGCAP had a presence on the ‘End Child Poverty' march and rally on 4 October, calling on Gordon Brown's government to keep its promise of ending UK child poverty by 2020.
Across the world, poverty hearings took place, where people testified to their experience of poverty, including events in South Africa , Cameroon and Somalia .
Around the world, over 350 events in over 100 countries took place, involving millions of trade unionists.
In the UK , the TUC held a day of seminars and workshops in Congress House, attended by 100 trade unionists, campaigners and students.
Anti-poverty campaigners gathered in Central London for a forumto discuss the challenges and opportunities of the current economic situation.
Tony Juniper (former head of Friends of the Earth), Celine Tan (the Third World Network) and Nick Hildyard (the Cornerhouse) showed the inter-connectedness of the crises the world is now facing.
The afternoon was dominated by a discussion of whether current anti-poverty campaigning was up to the task of combating the crises faced by the world. Speakers from Make Poverty History North East, Leeds University and the Climate Camp argued for better working together by activists at a national and local level across a range of different issues, including better provision of educational resources and other means of empowering local activists.
There was widespread agreement that anti-poverty activists must join the growing call for a radically restructured financial system, and ensure that any reformed system will place people and the planet at its core.
People from all over the UK massed in London to demand an escalation of the fight against climate change.
They formed a ‘People Map' of the United Kingdom to demonstrate that nationwide support exists for a tough new international climate deal.
After the event, a delegation of Christian Aid supporters met Joan Ruddock, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
In a victory for campaigners, the UK government announced that it would increase its CO2 emissions reduction target to 80%, rather than 60% by 2050.
12,800 bloggers around the world banded together to blog about poverty, with the intent of raising awareness and suggesting solutions about the issue.
Oxfam launched a new report on the Food Crisis: ‘Double-edged prices: Lessons from the food price crisis - 10 actions developing countries should take'.
It explained the reasons why the sharp increase in food prices has not benefitted the millions of poor people who make their living from agriculture, and offered recommendations for alleviating the situation.
17 – 19 October
116.9 million people from every continent took part in ‘Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty' from 17 – 19 October 2008 to demand that their leaders act to end poverty and inequality.
56, 197 people participated in more than 300 solidarity events in the UK, organised by NGOs, grassroots groups, churches, schools and universities.